David S. D’Amato

David S. D’Amato, a policy advisor to The Heartland Institute, is an attorney and adjunct law professor whose writing has appeared at the Institute of Economic Affairs, the Future of Freedom Foundation, the Centre for Policy Studies, the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Liberty Fund’s Online Library of Law and Liberty, the Foundation for Economic Education, and in major newspapers around the world.

The Falsehoods and Truths About Libertarianism


Duke historian Nancy MacLean made waves in 2017 with her book Democracy in Chains, a fantastical conspiracy drama that recasts James Buchanan, winner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in economics, as a crypto-segregationist bent on undermining American democracy. The problem, of course, is that MacLean’s book is not a gripping mystery novel, but instead holds […]

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The Government Is Not Your Mom and Can’t Force You to Share


Humankind’s propensity to act selfishly is taken to be an important problem in political theory: an impediment, perhaps, to the utopian dreams of political philosophers. State-organized collectivization is often wrongly believed to provide a way out of the cycle of selfishness, but of course it doesn’t. People remain human, motivated to act according to concrete […]

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The Parties of Special Interests


Among the many questions that marked the 2016 election and its result, perhaps the one that dominated was how the U.S. government can best help American consumers, manufacturers, and workers. Merely to ask this question is to invite the artfully drawn entreaties of various pressure groups, well-positioned and -funded, all in search of special treatment. […]

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Is Economics a Hard Science?


The disciplines we call the “hard sciences” such as chemistry and physics inhabit the cold, sterile world of laboratories, uncontaminated by a boundless assortment of potential impurities. Today, economics pretends to be one of the hard sciences, yet the laboratories provided by the real world are disorderly, even chaotic, insusceptible to sanitization and control. The […]

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Political Ignorance and the Need for Federalism


It may be hard for many Americans to hear, but politics has most likely blinded them, obscuring their view of significant facts and all but blacking out the portion of their brains devoted to critical thinking. As law professor Ilya Somin points out in his book Democracy and Political Ignorance, studies consistently show people systematically […]

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Property Rights: The Root of Freedom


Summarizing The Commonwealth of Oceana, James Harrington’s controversial mid-17th century work of political theory, Daniel Webster wrote that “power naturally and necessarily follows property.” A free society, Harrington argued, requires that property may be owned and alienated by all citizens, and accordingly, that property ownership be not confined either to one “sole landlord” or a […]

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In Praise of Complex Financial Markets


The ongoing presidential race has occasioned an impassioned, if not exactly enlightened, consideration of the causes of the 2008 financial crisis, nearly all of it based on misinformation, fallacy, and unfocused populist outrage. While much of that outrage is quite justified, the arguments and charges through which it usually expresses itself reflect a deep misunderstanding […]

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